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There is nothing better than showing up to an after-school program, charitable event, or even a local soccer jamboree with a few Wanderers players and seeing the genuine smiles on the faces of the kids.

Danae Iatrou

Groups & Partnerships Account Manager

HFX Wanderers FC

× The interview with Danae Iatrou was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

1

Well, that depends if we are in season or out of season.

During the season I support our Director of Partnerships to help lock in new club sponsors while delivering on all promises to our existing partners.

For the most part, we support our partners through marketing and community engagement initiatives. With this work, I work very closely with our Marketing and Creative team who execute the social media and email campaigns, for example, to deliver on partner needs.

When it is off-season, it is my job to show previous partners through presentations and communications, the work we achieved together and the results.

It is also on me to help our Director of Partnerships show new and existing partners how we can deliver on value in the next season, this is what our team is working on now.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be meeting with existing Club partners and potential new partners and strategically building tailor made deliverables for each group to help them reach their goals.

2You’ve worked in operations, marketing, finances, social media, and more. Now you are in Groups and Partnerships with HFX Wanderers FC? Have you found your sweet spot and how important was having an all-around understanding of how business works to get where you are today?

Wow, that’s a tough question.

Personally, my skills & interests are ever-changing and I don’t necessarily believe I will ever find that “sweet spot” the minute you are comfortable and find the “sweet spot”, you stop growing, at least that’s how I see it.

I do remember promising myself after university that I would become the most versatile professional ever by working in every field, I said that to myself because I had no sweet clue what the right path was for me. Now in hindsight, I’m confident I made the right decision to choose to be versatile in my career, I’ve learned so much!

It’s interesting to see how each field in business complements and impacts the other, businesses are truly like living organisms and you need every field working well, in cohesion, for the business to succeed. Being as versatile as I am, I love that I can chime into marketing conversations with confidence even though my current role is more so in sales and client servicing.

Ironically enough, this is exactly how I was as a varsity soccer player for my university, I played every position but goalkeeper. Finally, what is unique about my situation is that I am working for a start-up professional soccer club.

We just finished our second season and I’ve been able to see all that it takes to build a professional sports team from the ground up. That’s why I’ve worn many hats with this club and it truly has been such an invaluable opportunity for my professional development.

I’ve played a part in almost every project and knowing that my effort has a big impact on the businesses’ success is both humbling and empowering. Not many get this kind of opportunity and I truly am blessed.

3Being in Groups and Partnerships for about a year now, what do you love most about it?

I’m all about community... providing value and driving and communicating great results.

I love having a role in helping our clients immerse themselves in our Wanderers community and showing them the opportunities available to them by working with our Club.

In many discussions with our client’s, they want to work with us to create moments, experiences, and bring their respective communities together, and I love that because bringing the community together through sport is our Club’s mission, and mine too.

Specifically, working with local soccer clubs is my favourite, that is truly where my passion lies. There is nothing better than showing up to an after-school program, charitable event, or even a local soccer jamboree with a few Wanderers players and seeing the genuine smiles on the faces of the kids.

That’s why I do what I do, to spark joy and touch every community that we possibly can, to create unforgettable moments.

4What are some tools that you and your team use to identify and develop new business opportunities for your organization? How important is it for people you hire to learn those tools BEFORE they join your team?

I wouldn’t necessarily call this a tool, because this isn’t something you can just pick up and learn, but it is a characteristic that has been an integral part of the success of our organization and that is passion.

We need passionate people in our organization because quite simply, this is one big passion project. All the employees in the Wanderers office are so attached to the Club’s mission statement on a personal level, and I find it’s been a key to our success thus far.

If there were any other traits we would want to see in a potential new hire, this individual should be comfortable in a fast-paced environment, and ready to be constantly learning. Especially in a start-up environment, you need to be willing to help in all areas of the business. Pro-active with a knack for problem-solving is key.

5Has COVID-19 made prospecting potential business partners challenging? What mechanisms, strategies and/or tools have you and your team used to mitigate some of those challenges?

Of course, COVID-19 has had an impact on business, however, we’re truly lucky to be in a part of Canada that seems to be managing the pandemic quite well, that’s why we had our 2020 “Bubble” season just a three-hour drive away on Prince Edward Island.

In terms of planning for 2021, we are approaching it with optimism. Of course, we have to be aware of the uncertainty our clients may be feeling and show empathy.

With that, we’re approaching any conversations with the goal of listening and discovering. Now more than ever it’s so important that we truly understand the goals and needs of our clients.

When we come back with proposals, the offerings are diverse, thoughtful and strategic. We want to offer exciting deals that can be activated in any climate and show our client’s that we will always have their best interest in mind no matter the circumstances.

Andres Larranaga Andres's Final Thoughts

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